Weekend links 729

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Phosphorus and Hesperus (1881) by Evelyn De Morgan.

• Mix of the week, or possibly the entire year: The Deep Ark, 167 tracks (over 8 hours of music), most of which are from the electronic deluge of the early 1990s. The download link may not work for all browsers—it didn’t for one of mine—but it is active. Via Simon Reynolds who has more about the Deep Ark project.

• At Nautilus: Betsy Mason on the use of stage magic to investigate animal behaviour. “By performing tricks for birds, monkeys, and other creatures, researchers hope to learn how they perceive and think about their world.”

• At The Daily Heller: Mad and the Usual Gang of Idiots. Meanwhile, Mr Heller’s font of the month may prove useful for this election season, a Jonathan Barnbrook design named Moron.

Looking back, you can see a pattern in those eras in which interest in telepathy boomed. Coined by Myers and his fellow psychical researchers in the 1880s, telepathy gained traction because it was formulated inside a moment of scientific and technological revolution, where uncanny transmissions proliferated across the visible and invisible spectrum, seeming to collapse the natural and the supernatural together. In the 1970s, telepathy returned, if under different names, as part of another moment of crisis. The Cold War arms race was an essential part of this, feeding a strange supplemental world of fantasy technologies, from mind control to brainwashing, and playing on an all-too-widespread psychological paranoia around being seen, infiltrated and manipulated by invisible agents.

Roger Luckhurst looks back at a century of psychic research

• New music: Portable Reality Generator by Field Lines Cartographer, and Sublime Eternal Love by Chrystabell and David Lynch.

• Coffee and Chocolates for Two Guitars: Robert Fripp interviewing John McLaughlin in July, 1982.

• Paintings by Ithell Colquhoun currently showing at the Ben Hunter gallery, London.

• At Public Domain Review: Eye Miniatures (ca. 1790–1810).

ESP (1965) by Miles Davis | ESP (1990) by Deee-lite | ESP (2002) by Comets On Fire

3 thoughts on “Weekend links 729”

  1. John do you have any insight as to why so many of the 70s British lead guitarists had such a “spiritual” bent? It was almost a cliche. Singers were sexual athletes , drummers were maniacs, lead guitarists explored non-mainstream spirituality.

    Fripp had Gurdjieff, Mclaughlin had Sri Chinmoy, Townsend had Meher Baba, Richard Thompson had an Islamic phase, Page had Crowley. Now that they’re all geezers it would interesting to hear their thoughts about it.

  2. That’s a good question, and one I’d not really considered in this way before. Carlos Santana also fits the bill, being another follower of Sri Chinmoy. You could also add Steve Hillage who wasn’t a guru follower but whose albums from 1975 to 79 run the gamut of New Age mysticism.

    I’d guess it’s something to do with guitarists generally being the creative engines of their groups. They may not write the lyrics but they often write much of the music, or guide it in the case of Fripp. This means they’re also guiding the progress of the group, and consequently having to think much more about the deeper issues of art and creativity, rather than simply enjoying the benefits of popular success.

    In the 1970s there was also a definite fashion for alternative spiritualities in a way there hasn’t been before or since. This isn’t to suggest that all the above were superficial adherents–Fripp certainly wasn’t–but there was a sense for the first half of the decade that a fully rounded person ought to take an interest in these things.

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